Soca star Machel Montano will be presented with the keys to the city of Port of Spain on July 22, a part of Tribe’s SunsetWKN experience.
The band’s SunsetWKN will be held from July 22-24 and it will reveal its 2023 presentations for all six bands under its umbrella on July 23.
Port of Spain mayor Joel Martinez said a decision was made in 2020 to present Montano with the keys to the city. These plans were, however, delayed because of the pandemic.
This year, it planned to present him with the keys at its Municipal City Awards which took place on June 24 at Mille Fleurs but, at that time, Montano was out of the country.
“Ultimate Events (Tribe) made a presentation to us. They wanted to do a three-day presentation with a mayor’s parade which would be launching their band,” Martinez said
He said the mayor’s parade was intended to highlight the city and it was a way for Tribe to give back to the city and the Woodbrook community.
When Tribe made the presentation, Martinez decided it was the perfect opportunity to present Montano with the keys.
Montano is being awarded for his 40 years of soca music to Trinidad and Tobago and the world, he said.
SunsetWKN is presenting a new style of Carnival and band launchings that the creative director of the Tribe Group Valmiki Maharaj hopes will build on TT’s eco-tourism, Carnival and craft-related experiences.
In a media release about the event Tribe said, “SunsetWKN, the launch of the Tribe Family of Bands’ (TRIBE FOB) Carnival 2023 presentation, is a condensation of Carnival experiences into three days, kicking off on Friday evening with a cultural spectacle dubbed the Ariapita Street Theatre.
"The event, which is free to the public, starts at 7 pm at Ana Street on Ariapita Avenue, and elements of the presentation will unfold at various stops along the avenue. ”
Maharaj said doing this was a dream of his for a really long time.
“What we are producing here, I would describe as the beginning of the dream. I have so many huge plans for this over the next five years. I don’t want to be doing this for one year only.”
The weekend came from the brand wanting to amplify its voice in the national conversation of culture and brand TT, Maharaj said.
He felt it was important for Tribe to begin its launch with an open, free parade that people could come to in the spirit of community.
“To really see us in a different light,” he said.
While, Maharaj said, this has been in the making for years, the pandemic really strengthened the creative company’s resolve to do it.
The concept marries the best of TT’s Carnival with its culture and its people “characteristic showmanship,” he said.
“The avenue will be shut down from 5.30 to 9.30 pm to vehicular traffic and turned into a pedestrian roadway,” Maharaj added.
During that time there will be different performances before the actual show starts.
“That will be a pre-show to the big show that starts at Ana Street.”
Maharaj said it is a narrated show that he has called One Avenue: Seven shows.
It will start at the top of Ana Street and a narrator will speak to his memories of and love of TT.
It is being played and scripted by Nickolai Salcedo, Maharaj said.
“The idea is as he walks down the avenue, he dreams and he speaks about TT and what he loves about the land. As he describes it at every junction you are going to have another cultural performance manifest, as if you are seeing into his mind,” Maharaj said.
At the Ana, Gallus, Alberto, Rosalino, Luis and Alfredo Streets junction, people will be treated to excerpts from Kambule by Eintou Springer, choreographed by Dara Healy; a choreographed piece by the Indian Khalnayak Academy led by Brian Mangaroo; a piece by the Chinese Art and Culture Studies Society led by Ethan Tsui and Mancini Mahadeo; a piece by Dabke Drummers led by George Makhoul and choreographed by Bridgette Wilson and dancers from the Bentley Potter Dance School and the Tobago Jig choreographed by Akimo Sandy.
This will all lead to a finale at Adam Smith Square also choreographed by Wilson.
For Maharaj, this fits into plans for a revamped Port of Spain.
“We have been in deep conversation with the both mayor’s office and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts headed by Randall Mitchell.
“We have had many discussions about their plans for the city. We know that they are working on a renovation plan of the avenue right now that is supposed to be executed in the next couple of months.”
The Tribe group got the blessing of the minister and mayor. The group also did this to support the Woodbrook community, of which it is a part, Maharaj said.
Businesses in Woodbrook were greatly affected by the pandemic and so Tribe is working with its sponsors – a major one being Carib – to ensure the bars and other businesses are well patronised on Friday and into the weekend.
The response of its stakeholders, the Carnival community and masqueraders has been overwhelmingly amazing, he added.
Maharaj hopes this new initiative will renew the Carnival spirit and spark the imagination of new generations.
“I want us as creative people and artists to see our creativity, showmanship and costuming ability beyond our masqueraders on Monday and Tuesday.”
He said what is designed for the Carnival road is not the only capability of TT’s creative people and artists. He said these types of parades and shows allow artists and designers to do different types of costumes and to story tell in a different way.
“With Lost Tribe every single year, I want to remind us we are a storytelling people,” he said.
Maharaj also hopes much more of this kind of storytelling is done not only by Tribe but other creative people and artists.
The Saturday itinerary starts with SUNsweat, a free fitness fete experience at the Hasely Crawford Training Grounds which will incorporate elements of TT’s traditional music and dance into a fitness routine.
On Saturday night, the Tribe Family of Bands will officially reveal the costumes of all six bands under its umbrella – Tribe, Bliss, The Lost Tribe, Harts, Rogue and Pure – at Jean Pierre Complex, Wrightson Road Port of Spain. On Sunday, it will host its Las Jam Carnival fete.
CEO Dean Ackin said he hopes SunsetWKN can become the blueprint for an alternative tourism product, “a destination weekend that visitors would want to fly in to experience.”